Coast KZN

15 Mar 2021

Crude oil and debris cleared from polluted canal

Thobele Nzama (Southlands Sun) Picture: Amanzimnyama canal looking spotless.

In a swift response to the pollution issue at the Amanzimnyama canal, a clean-up was completed. Calls for stricter measures to ensure the culprits responsible are fined were echoed by the chairman of the Bluff Rate Payers’ Association, Ivor Aylward, and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance’s air quality officer, Bongani Mthembu.

“I don’t know if it was the rain, but the canal is flowing very fast at the moment. We’ve got a boom across the canal up to where it is all washed up against the wall of the bridge.”

“I really don’t know if they captured all the crude oil or whatever it was. There was a huge truck with a crane to clear the debris stuck against the wall of the bridge. Crude oil was also collected and everything was taken out of the weir. I thank whoever organised this, whether it was the municipality, thank you very much,” said Aylward.

Although he said, there is still a huge problem inside the weir which was in the process of a clean-up. The canal was infested with oil and rubbish which prompted a tip-off by Aylward who was shocked at the pollution washing downstream.

He alleged that the oil was dumped in the canal as a way for companies to cut corners and further warned that if nothing was done, the consequences would be dire.

“This is going out to our sea, what is going to be left for our children one day? It is irresponsible behaviour by the public,” he said.

Apart from the hazardous implications the pollution has on marine life, it is accompanied by an unbearably foul stench. Several motorists who drive past the canal on Solomon Mahlangu Drive have complained about it on social media.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance’s air quality officer, Bongani Mthembu, said a thorough investigation is still needed to provide the answers.

“We visited the South Waste Water Treatment Works’ offices on Wednesday, 10 March to find out what was going on. They told us that they were aware of the sewage at the canal and would investigate the oil issue and where it comes from.”

“It can’t be from just one neighbouring oil factory even though they have access to the canal. There are also back yard mechanics who could also possibly be dumping their used oil because they too have access to the canal. A proper investigation will come up with the answers we seek,” he said.

The municipality’s spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela, said the city’s oil and trash traps adjacent to the weir were made to trap small volumes of oil and other pollutants.

“They are not designed to contain large volumes of oil spillages or illegal dumping. We are in the process of appointing a hazmat company to attend to the cleaning of the oil traps. We have also reported the matter to our Pollution Department to address the containment of the illegal oil in the canal. We also urge residents and companies that contribute to the pollution to stop polluting our waters. This is detrimental to our environment. Those found responsible will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.